(Translated from French)
In Mali, adolescents do not all have the same experience; their individual experience depends on numerous factors: sex, place of residence, sociocultural context, economic situation, and marital situation.
Poverty aggravates the challenges and risks inherent to adolescence, and it forces numerous parents to put their children to work, often at the price of great dangers. Many girls and boys do not have the chance to receive an education.
In the urban areas, boys in particular can be forced by poverty to survive without any other house except the street.
For girls, fewer chances and more risks. The expectations imposed according to their sex influence in a large measure the experience that all have in adolescence. Girls are often in an unfavorable position. When they reach puberty, the preconceived ideas to their subject expose them more than boys to leave school, to submit to sexual violence or to be married in childhood. The liberties and perspectives of boys can grow, while it is often the opposite for girls. During this period, the difference in treatment can become more pronounced, girls being formed to be wives and mothers, and boys prepared to assure subsistence to their family.
Adolescence brings to numerous girls, above all to those who live in poverty, more risks and less liberty.
Girls leave school in a greater number than boys do, either because the girls are pregnant, or to take their part of responsibilities at home and to the education of children or to treat sick family members. This state of things manifests itself in the lower literacy rate in young women.
In Mali, girls believe in education, but 72% of them have never been provided with schooling in rural areas, or even they are provided with schooling, they do not reach the sixth year. Education is often interrupted by a forced marriage or a marriage as children, by the cost and the distance of secondary schools, and by the custom that imposes on girls of rural areas to spend a year in the city to serve as a domestic worker to earn the money necessary to their trousseau of marriage. “Our village has never produced a single woman graduate. For us, education is a distant dream,” said an 18 year old Malian girl. “A girl does not really have the need to receive an education, since she will in any case leave her parents to found a family elsewhere and the advantages of her education will benefit others,” said a parent. This manner of seeing found a large echo in the community.
Girls of rural areas work hard to contribute to the resources of housekeeping, but their perspectives of economic security are limited by their lack of education, marriage and motherhood since childhood, the lack of mobility, and the poverty of the rural environment.
In summary, adolescents present themselves in Mali as follows:
In big cities,
1- Adolescents from 9 to 15 years old are beggars, traveling small business owners, works of exploitation, apprentice chauffeurs and others if they are not provided with schooling.
In this category young adolescents above all do small business or give themselves to prostitution
2- Adolescents from 16 to 22 years old and more are exposed to great unemployment as in all the countries in the process of development, those who work and are exploited earn often 40 US dollars a month. Others do not have any choice but immigration to the countries of Europe and America.
In the rural areas, the majority of adolescents are used as fit arms for agriculture (Mali is 80% farmers), and young girls are subjected to early marriage. Here education or literacy is not a priority.
In the middle, in our days because of extreme poverty, adolescents give themselves to internal migration (towards Bamako, the chief places of the region or the areas of big growing of cotton) and external migration (to the emerging countries of Africa and the Western countries of Europe and America.
It should be noted that internal migrations are very often seasonal